15 TV Series That Should Have Been a Single Season

15 TV Series That Should Have Been a Single Season
Image credit: Legion-Media,, CBS Television, Netflix, Disney–ABC Domestic, 20th Television

These shows screamed for mercy, but just kept on going, for some reason.

Updated on December 6th, 2023 by Louise Everitt: This article has been refreshed with new entries and some additional insights and trivia to keep things exciting and relevant for you. We've added new content, so revisit to see what's changed and stay informed.

1. The End of the F***ing World (2017–2019)

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"End of the F***king World" gave us an ending in season 1 that left everyone's jaw on the floor. That ending monologue? Pure television gold. But part of its magic was the mystery, the delicious uncertainty of not knowing what comes next. Season 2? Well, it kind of felt like reading the last page of a mystery novel first. Spoiler alert: It's never as good.

2. Haunting of Hill House (2018)

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"Haunting of Hill House" Season 1 was a masterpiece in its own right. Season 2 tried to capture the same eerie magic, but let's face it, those accents were more frightening than the ghosts. The first season was a complete story, beautifully told, and it should've been left at that.

3. 13 Reasons Why (2017-2020)

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"13 Reasons Why" was a show that hit so hard in season 1 it left a mark. It was raw, real, and raised important discussions. But then came the sequels, and it was like watching a magician reveal his tricks – the magic just poofed away. Each following season seemed to undo the poignant impact of its predecessor. The original novel by Jay Asher, on which the show is based, of course, doesn't have a sequel. Maybe there's a lesson there?

4. Money Heist ( 2017-2021)

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"Money Heist" is like that party guest who doesn't know when it's time to leave. The first two seasons? Chef's kiss. A perfect blend of tension, drama, and a satisfying ending. But then it kept going... and going. By season 4, even the most loyal fans were checking their watches. The show had a chance to end on a high note but chose the path of a never-ending encore instead.

5. Wayward Pines (2015-2016)

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"Wayward Pines" Season 1 was a mind-bending, thrilling ride that knew exactly where it was going and waved the checkered flag with style. Then came the additional seasons, and it was like someone decided to keep driving after the race was over. The mystery and intrigue of the first season deserved a better legacy than the confusion that followed.

6. Under the Dome (2013-2015)

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Our first contestant is Under the Dome, an adaptation of Stephen King 's novel. Its premise, a town suddenly encapsulated by an invisible, impenetrable dome, was intriguing. The initial setup was mysterious and tense, and with a respectable 83% rating on Rotten Tomatoes for its first season, audiences were captivated. But as the show extended into seasons 2 and 3, the allure wore off. The initial plot was overstretched, filled with unnecessary characters, and convoluted subplots. It seemed like the writers were just throwing spaghetti at the dome to see what would stick. In the end, the viewers might've wished they were trapped under a dome, cut off from the signal transmitting this show.

7. Secret Diary of a Call Girl (2007-2011)

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This British series, based on the blog and books by former high-class escort Belle de Jour, started out fresh and provocative. The story of Hannah Baxter, who leads a double life as an ordinary girlfriend and a call girl, offered a unique perspective. It was witty, salacious, and unapologetically honest, earning a Rotten Tomatoes audience rating of 62%. However, after a satisfying first season, the show fell into a repetitive cycle: Hannah falls for a client, faces conflict, and resets. Rinse and repeat. By season 4, the original allure had worn off, and the series felt like a well-trodden path with no new tricks in its book.

8. The Killing (2011-2014)

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Next on our hit list is The Killing, a U.S. remake of a Danish crime drama. The first season set up an engaging mystery around the murder of a local girl, building a moody, atmospheric whodunit that had viewers on the edge of their seats, reflected by its 94% rating on Rotten Tomatoes. But then season 2 came along, and instead of providing the much-anticipated closure, it drew out the same murder case. The show felt like it was stuck in a Seattle rainstorm, unable to move forward for the entirety of its four seasons.

9. Prison Break (2005-2017)

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Who can forget the thrill and suspense of Prison Break's first season? With an impressive 78% on Rotten Tomatoes, viewers watched in awe as Michael Scofield enacted his meticulously planned prison escape. The plot was fresh, the suspense was so palpable our teeth hurt, and the characters were engaging. Then came season 2, which was decent, albeit with less excitement. But by seasons 3 and 4, we had more prison breaks than seemed plausible, and it felt like the writers were just as trapped as the characters, unable to escape the constraints of their initial premise. And don't get us started on the revival season…

10. Heroes (2006-2010)

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Remember when Heroes premiered and everyone was quoting, Save the cheerleader, save the world? The first season, with its 77% rating on Rotten Tomatoes, was a breath of fresh air in the superhero genre. The plot of ordinary people discovering extraordinary abilities was compelling and fresh. But as subsequent seasons rolled out, the storyline became more tangled and the quality dipped. It felt likethe writers had taken one of Hiro's time-traveling trips, but instead of coming back with a great plot for season 2, they got lost in the narrative labyrinth. Ultimately, even the most die-hard fans felt the show could've stopped while it was ahead.

11. True Blood (2008-2014)

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True Blood started out as a juicy, sexy vampire drama with a fantastic first season. Set in the fictional town of Bon Temps, Louisiana, it drew viewers into its unique world where vampires and humans coexist. With an 85% rating on Rotten Tomatoes for its first season, it was clear the show had captivated audiences. But as the show progressed, it introduced more supernatural creatures – werewolves, witches, fairies, and shape-shifters, leading to a convoluted mess of storylines. The once captivating drama turned into a supernatural creature feature, losing the initial charm that made it so engaging in the first place.

12. Glee ( 2009-2015)

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Glee, with its optimistic teenagers and catchy musical numbers, burst onto our screens in 2009. Its fresh take on high school dramas, combined with vibrant musical performances, earned it an 86% Rotten Tomatoes rating for its first season. But as the series carried on, it started losing its melody. Plots became repetitive, character development stagnated, and the show choir competitions that seemed so important at the start turned into background noise. The constant introduction of new characters (who, let's be honest here, nobody cared about) diluted the focus and left viewers longing for the harmony of season one.

13. Weeds (2005-2012)

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Weeds began with an intriguing premise – a suburban widow turns to selling marijuana to support her family. The first season was a hit with its dark humor, compelling storyline, and fantastic performance from Mary-Louise Parker, leading to an impressive 79% Rotten Tomatoes rating. However, as the series continued, the plot deviated significantly from its original premise. The suburban setting was abandoned, and the storyline spiraled into an outlandish plot involving Mexican drug lords, complete with a fake pregnancy and an unexpected leap forward in time. The show had transformed into a completely different entity, and it wasn't a good thing. At all.

14. Revenge (2011-2015)

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Revenge kicked off with a promising premise – a young woman returning to the Hamptons to get revenge on the people who wronged her family. The first season, with its soap-opera twists and turns, was received well by audiences, resulting in a Rotten Tomatoes rating of 81%. However, with each subsequent season, the revenge plots became more convoluted, and the intrigue was replaced with absurdity. By the fourth season, the show had lost its initial bite for good.

15. Quantico (2015-2018)

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The first season of Quantico, with its dual timelines and whodunit narrative, was engaging and thrilling. A class of FBI recruits, one of whom was responsible for a terrorist attack – the concept hooked viewers, earning a Rotten Tomatoes rating of 80%. However, after a strong first season, the series became bogged down in its own complexity. Multiple plot twists, confusing storylines, and convoluted character motives turned the thrilling drama into a puzzling maze. By the third season, the show had lost its initial charm and left viewers scratching their heads.